Monday, September 10, 2012

The Law Foundation of Ontario has awarded its community leadership in justice fellowship to Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario program director Tracy Heffernan.

Heffernan will spend her fellowship at Osgoode Hall Law School. As part of the fellowship, she’ll explore the potential to reduce homelessness using the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other tools.

“We clearly need to do more on the homelessness front,” said Heffernan. “One of my key current interests is the use of a rights-based approach to address homelessness and the lack of adequate housing.

This fellowship allows me to research the right to housing in other countries and to analyze how those strategies might apply in Canada.”

Heffernan’s fellowship will culminate in a symposium next year during which a group of international experts will consider the potential steps towards the establishment of a right to housing in Canada.

“The Charter has had a profound impact, but its role in developing social rights is in its infancy,” says Osgoode dean Lorne Sossin.

“While at Osgoode, Tracy is going to explore the concept of a positive Charter right to adequate housing, one of the most significant social challenges we face.”

Lawyer Emmanuelle Jean is joining Legal Aid Ontario in the northeast district’s north Cochrane corridor.

Also among the new staff is legal aid worker Hélène Savage.

“Emmanuelle and Hélène can provide more timely and convenient service to this community’s most marginalized people than would be possible if staff duty counsel had to travel from Timmins every few weeks,” said Louise Huneault, district area director for LAO’s northeast district.

“They are highly qualified bilingual professionals who live and work in the north and can travel to courthouses within this part of the district.”

Jean is a family and criminal lawyer who was called to the bar in 2009. Before joining LAO, she worked in a rural private practice in eastern Ontario.

Savage has been an LAO employee in Hamilton, Ont. for the past two decades and is returning to her home community.

Members of Toronto’s Bellissimo Law Group will head to Ottawa on Sept. 18 to argue that a stay should remain in effect preventing Citizenship and Immigration Canada from terminating federal skilled-worker applications filed prior to Feb. 27, 2008.

The group is part of a legal proceeding currently before the Federal Court of Canada headed up by Bellissimo Law Group, Quebec law firm Campbell Cohen, and other Canadian immigration lawyers such as Lorne Waldman.

Legal Feeds reported in July that the group and the Department of Justice had reached an agreement stipulating that Citizenship and Immigration Canada wouldn’t return processing fees in relation to federal skilled-worker applications for 90 days.

The group’s lawyers are now expected to ask the Federal Court for certification of the matter as a class proceeding following the successful resolution of a handful of cases last month.

According to the Bellissimo Law Group, the potential outcomes could include a stay for the entire class of federal skilled-worker applicants, a stay for only those applicants before the court or the proceedings continuing without a stay in effect.

Bellissimo Law Group will be accepting new applicants until Sept. 5.

The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

It appears some Law Times readers aren’t too happy with Legal Aid Ontario’s new discretion guidelines. According to last week’s question, almost 67 per cent of respondents don’t agree with the changes.

LAO announced the changes last month after consulting with the bar this spring on changes they wanted to see.

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